On a boiling hot day in the Calderon stadium in Madrid, FC Barcelona were crowned League champions 2014/2015. In a very tense match with clear opportunities on both sides, it was left to the maestro Messi to take control and stamp his authority on the proceedings by clinching the match winner and the only goal of the game to leave Real Madrid in 2nd place.
We took a lucky group of UK fans on an unforgettable trip to travel with the FC Barcelona Players. The day began very early as the group met at the airport, up until this point it was clear that some still had one or two doubts as to whether this experience was real and would they really get to see the FC Barcelona superstars.
This trip however was different because we had a superstar of our own on the flight. Johnny Mcleod former Arsenal winger (1961 – 1964) made a surprise appearance to add to the excitement of the occasion. Johnny´s son Jimmy had bought this gift for his 76 year old father to say thank you for his years of dedication to being a footballing superstar and a true family man. At the time of his signing for Arsenal Johnny was a record signing for a winger in the premier division (40,000 pounds).
He had another special reason for coming on the trip, prior to signing for Arsenal, he had played for his local club, Hibernian and he was famous for scoring a goal and winning a penalty to beat FC Barcelona in the European Cup 1961. Here is an excerpt from coverage of the game: 1960/61 – Hibernian vs Barcelona – European Fairs Cup Second Round. After the first leg in Edinburgh was postponed by fog, Hibs travelled to Catalonia in December 1960 to face a Barca team packed with stars like Sandor Kocsis, Evaristo and Luis Suarez. Inspired by Joe Baker, the Hibees raced into a 4-2 lead before being pegged back to 4-4. Baker hit a double, with further strikes by Tommy Preston and Johnny MacLeod while Barca had a hat-trick from Hungarian Kocsis and a last-minute equaliser by Brazil international Evaristo.
The return match was finally played at Easter Road in February 1961. In front of a crowd of 50,000, Barca held a 2-1 lead at half time despite Baker’s opening strike. In a stunning second half Preston equalised before MacLeod won a penalty with just six minutes remaining.
The furious Spaniards turned on German referee Johannes Malka, with Suarez even kicking out at the whistler. After a ten minute break in play, during which time Malka tried to dash for the tunnel and had to be persuaded back on to the field by police, Bobby Kinloch dispatched the spot kick for a famous win, 7-6 on aggregate.
The local press also spotted our VIP guest and were keen to write about him also calling him The Barcelona Executioner of 1961! Check out the article here.
We did not forget that we were there to get some photos with the players and get autographs signed, the players did not disappoint and even though it was a full flight for the last away game of the season, they were surprising relaxed happy to pose for the lucky travelers.
We would like to congratulate the team on a sterling performance, and wish them all the luck on winning the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.